GBH president to step down at the end of 2022

Jon Abbott is the president and CEO of Boston's GBH (Courtesy GBH)
Jon Abbott is the president and CEO of Boston's GBH (Courtesy GBH)

Jon Abbott announced plans to step down as president and CEO of GBH at the end of 2022.

Abbott has been at the helm of GBH since 2007. Since then, the station has seen its endowment grow from $60 million to $520 million. Part of that significant increase was from auctioning off two broadcast signals to wireless carriers in 2017. The sale gave GBH an additional $218.7 million.

GBH is a major producer of national PBS shows such as “Masterpiece,” “Frontline,” and “Antiques Roadshow.” Abbott oversaw a significant expansion of television, radio, and digital programming during his tenure. That includes the popular animated series “Molly of Denali,” which is the first national series to feature a lead Native American character. In 2011, GBH launched the digital platform PBS LearningMedia, which offers free teaching lessons and tools for preK-12 teachers. He also oversaw the transformation of Boston’s classical station to an all-news format with programming that at times competes head to head with WBUR.

“He ushered GBH to a digital transformation," said Lee Pelton, president of The Boston Foundation and a GBH board member. "[He] evolved it from a broadcaster to a multi-platform, multi-media service."

Pelton said the board has already established a search committee to find GBH's new leader. The committee plans to seek input from members of the Boston community, he said.

"No doubt in that process, there will be plenty of conversation about what GBH will look like five years from now or ten years from now," Pelton said. "Those conversations are yet to have occurred."

Abbott told GBH Reporter Liz Neisloss he has no immediate plans for the next chapter.

“In some ways, I'm not bothered at all by that," he said. “There's a joy in being able to think about a clean canvas.”

GBH, which employees 850 across all of its divisions, is headquartered in Brighton.

This article was originally published on February 23, 2022.

Headshot of Yasmin Amer

Yasmin Amer Executive Producer, Radio Boston
Yasmin Amer is Executive Producer of WBUR's Radio Boston.



More from WBUR

Listen Live